The Systemic Racism Reductio

Ilana Mercer, January 26, 2023

The Backward reasoning error is the central tenet of systemic racism and of preferential treatment—affirmative action, and assorted quota and set-aside edicts and policies ~ilana

Unlike systemic racism—which is more fittingly referred to as systemic rubbish—intellectual racial indentureship could quickly become a reality in America, as it is in South Africa, your columnist’s birthplace.

As recounted in Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for American From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011, p. 103), the ruling African National Congress has pioneered “the creation of a unique cognitive caste system” in South Africa.

Throughout the South African work force, “white subordinates with graduate and postgraduate degrees are doing the hard-core intellectual and technical work for their black bosses. The latter often have no more than a 10th-grade diploma but are paid a great deal more than their intellectual skivvies. A black matriculant (possessor of a high-school diploma) is perfectly poised to climb the South African corporate structure; yet, in order to have a ghost of a chance at remaining employed, a white had better possess a masters or a doctoral degree. Given their pallor, promotion for whites is less and less likely.”

Acting as a race leveler is already high among Corporate America’s priorities. This entails voluntarily and energetically sniffing out deviationists and generally proceeding to punish or “reeducate” pay-dependent prey.

Corporate America’s human-resource departments are thus in the habit of deluging employees with the piss-poor racial agitprop of illiterate pamphleteers. The woman who wrote White Fragility comes to mind.

According to corporate and state diversity doxology, justice is achieved only when racial and ethnic groups are reflected in academia and in the professions in proportion to their presence in the larger population. On indices of economic well-being, the same egalitarian outcomes are expected.

Equalizing individual and intergroup economic and academic outcomes, however, is an impossibility, considering that it is axiomatically and self-evidently true to say that race-based differences have existed since the dawn of time.

Nevertheless, absent wealth egalitarianism and proportional representation in the professions, the walking wounded who control America’s cultural discourse have concluded that racism, systemic or some other variety, reigns.

Since so much is at stake, how about measuring this inchoate thing called “racism”—systemic or other? How about meticulously applying research methodology in order to statistically operationalize this nebulous “racism” thing? You can’t, can you? Until you have, “racism” remains nothing but thought crime: Impolite and impolitic thoughts, spoken, written or preached. And thought crimes are nobody’s business in a free society.

Until you’ve operationalized the vague abstraction that is “systemic racism” get out of my face! The “systemic racism” refrain is systemic rubbish.

To concretize a variable, it must be cast in empirical, measurable terms—the opaque “racism” abstraction being one variable (to use statistical nomenclature). Am I a racist if I don’t hire a black candidate? Am I a racist if I decide that, in aggregate, my person and property are safer plonked in an Asian neighborhood than a black one?

“Backward reasoning, expounded by mystery author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle through his famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes,” observes Dr. Thomas Young, “applies with reasonable certainty when only one plausible explanation for the … evidence exists.”

Though not black, my hiree might be truly the best for the job. My employment criteria thus could very well be meritocratic, not racist. Though not black, my neighborhood could have been chosen based on crime statistics, not race, and I merely careful, not racist.

By logical extension, systemic racism is most certainly not “the only plausible explanation” for the lag in the fortunes of African-Americans, although, as it stands, systemic racism is inferred solely from one single fact: In aggregate, African-Americans trail behind whites in assorted academic and socio-economic indices and achievements.

This logical error is the central tenet of preferential treatment—affirmative action, and assorted quota and set-aside edicts and policies.

Look, the law already mandates that people of all races be treated equally under its protection. The law, then, is not the problem—illogic is. In particular, the logical error of reasoning backward.

The systemic racism non sequitur is even harder to sustain when considering the Asian minority, a minority that has had its own historical hardships. Nevertheless, in professions and academic pursuits where mathematical precocity is a factor, Asians are overrepresented, consistently outperforming whites. If proportional underrepresentation signals oppression, then overrepresentation, likewise, must reflect an unfair advantage.

And if social justice requires that the State and corporate America act as social and economic levelers—then surely fairness demands that all minority groups that are overrepresented in assorted endeavors be similarly kneecapped in the name of equality? Should not such leveling policies be deployed to make the NBA or the 100-meter dash more “representative” of America?

Unless the systemic racism rubbish is rubbished, it is quite foreseeable that, in a workplace so shot through with hatred of whites, a form of intellectual reparations in the future will consign white, systemic “oppressors” to labor behind the scenes, while the officially “oppressed” manage them and take credit for their intellectual output.

Unz Review, December 26
The New American, January 27

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CATEGORIES: Affirmative action, Diversity, Free speech, Political Theory, Racial issues, Reason, Science & Junk Science